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    Old 02-16-2004, 02:29 AM   #1
    Bilbo
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    Hello- Somewhat successfull ACDF (long)

    Great board folks! I had to laught at myself cuz I am on several forums that are all hobby related and I never thought to look for a forum like this....untill today.

    On Jan 12, 2004 I had an ACDF on C4-6 (I think). Thats 2 levels right?

    Prior to the surgery I suffered from neck and upper back pain that radiated into the right trap and shoulder. I also experienced weird fatigue in the muscles around/under the scapula and the same feeling in inside of the elbow. This "fatigue" or "feeling" is hard to describe as its not numbness, its not "pins and needles" and its not pain. The only way I can truely liken it to anything I have ever felt before is to say that it feels like I just pitched 10 innings of baseball and threw too hard and threw too many curve balls.

    Anyway, after having a Thorasic and Cervical MRI and having a Nuerologist tell me Im crazy (he cared not to look at the MRI because I appear to him to be fine) I saw a NS who told me that I needed another MRI because the one I already had was crappy. Seems to be a raging debate between open system and closed system MRI. After the 2nd MRI (cervical only) it was clear to the NS that I needed surgery because I had moderate Stenosis, disk protusions and bone spurs. OK. Based on the MRI, however, he could not tell me about the Elbow symptoms.... The original Thorasic MRI showed stenosis and bulge at T1/C8.....hmmm

    Anyway, moving on, right after surgery I felt awesome. Apart from the surgical pains, ALL the symptoms were GONE! I was ellated and let the doctor know this. After 2 days I was home and adjusting to life in "THE COLLAR OF DOOM" for 3 month. 2 weeks post opp I took a turn for the worse....my allergies kicked in and I sneezed several times. All of the fatigue in the shoulder and elbow returned like a banshee and stayed for hours. If I dont sneeze again it subsides slowly. Pain returned but at a much lower amount that was managible. I was scared. The next day more sneezing and strangely I developed symptoms on the LEFT side. Where on the right side my elbow feels fatigued, on my left it HURTS severely....almost like tendonitus. May or may not be related but its never presented itself before.

    I called the NS to tell him that some of the issues reappeared and he had me go get an xray (early). I delivered it to his office and they called me the next day and told me it looked perfect. My reaction was great but what about the return of symptoms. The decided to see me on the 19th to discuss.

    I am afraid and I am having anxiety about this appointment as this NS is overly confident in his abilities and can be somewhat dissmissive of complaints or concerns. He was so confident of his hands that he wanted me to go home from the hospital with NO pain medication at all......

    Im not sure what I am asking here. Maybe this post was more of a vent and a hello but if any of you folks have any advice let me know. There is much more to this story but I tend to be wordy as you can tell so.....

    Bilbo.

     
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    Old 02-16-2004, 05:22 AM   #2
    grace2
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    Re: Hello- Somewhat successfull ACDF (long)

    Bilbo, I don't have any advice, but I am glad that your surgery went so well. I think I will be having surgery on two levels also and hope to do as well. I hope the reoccurrence of symptoms is just irritation or something else that is easily explained and fixed. Good luck.

     
    Old 02-16-2004, 06:44 AM   #3
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    Re: Hello- Somewhat successfull ACDF (long)

    Hi Bilbo,

    It was really good to see your post, as I was about to post a similar one today myself. I had ACDF at C5-6 two weeks ago today. I went home one day after surgery (my Dr. also didn't feel pain meds were necessary) and, to be honest, I felt really great for about a week. Very minor postsurgical pain, minor sore throat, and complete resolution of the pains in my left arm. At about 1 1/2 weeks I began developing a strong ache at the base of my neck - strong enough to make me think about taking pain meds again. I also have intermittent pains in my shoulders, occasionally radiating down my left arm but also, more often, radiating down my right arm. It feels almost as if someone is trying to pull the arm out of the socket. My right arm and shoulder never bothered me before surgery. I wouldn't be as concerned if I hadn't felt so good initially after the surgery. My NS does not have me wearing a collar at all, and at first I feared I may have injured myself somehow (had major problems with nausea and vomiting the first 48 hours after surgery - can't be real good for the neck). Now I wonder if it isn't just part of the normal healing process, but the symptoms took so long to occur it's a strange and rather discouraging turn of events. I hope someone else can let us know this is not terribly abnormal and won't last forever! I have an appointment with my NS tomorrow so we'll see what he says, but he is also very confident in his abilities and told me I should feel great at the two week point so I'm not expecting a lot of support from him. Anyway, it was really good to see your post. Let me know what your NS tells you and maybe by comparing notes we can figure out what is going on.

    CTMom - ACDF C5-6 2/2/04

     
    Old 02-16-2004, 07:19 AM   #4
    Deb F
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    Re: Hello- Somewhat successfull ACDF (long)

    [Prior to the surgery I suffered from neck and upper back pain that radiated into the right trap and shoulder. I also experienced weird fatigue in the muscles around/under the scapula and the same feeling in inside of the elbow. This "fatigue" or "feeling" is hard to describe as its not numbness, its not "pins and needles" and its not pain. The only way I can truely liken it to anything I have ever felt before is to say that it feels like I just pitched 10 innings of baseball and threw too hard and threw too many curve balls.
    Bilbo.][/QUOTE]

    Bilbo -
    Pleased to make your acquaintance via e-world!! (And, yes it still feels weird for me to be here too.) I was very grateful to see your list of symptoms. I was in MVA 8/03 and have a hern.disc at C6-7. I have had pain, pins and needles, numbness, etc.. However, since last week Friday, I feel like I have been weight-lifting! My triceps, elbows, and shoulders are tired!! Today I woke up and things are the same (except my ears are ringing) and I'm really out of sorts (sad!!) I was so hoping that surgery wouldn't be necessary, but ... calling 2nd NS again today, as he wasn't happy with the first MRI, and wants to schedule another. I didn't realize that the quality of MRI's could be so different.
    By the way, I sympathize with your allergies!! Sneezing after surgery is a very scary thought indeed!!
    Take care,
    Deb F

    Last edited by Deb F; 02-16-2004 at 07:20 AM.

     
    Old 02-16-2004, 08:01 AM   #5
    leethomson
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    Re: Hello- Somewhat successfull ACDF (long)

    Hi Bilbo

    I read your post with interest as my operation was on the same day although it was only one level C6-7. I am new here also looking for advice (see my post below) on what to expect recovery wise.

    Let me know how your recovery goes, I have been really knocked back by the return of my symptoms after the operation. I am worried that I will be left with this pain or whether over the coming months I can expect it too improve.

    What advice have you been given with regard to the coming months.

    Lee

    Last edited by leethomson; 02-16-2004 at 08:02 AM.

     
    Old 02-16-2004, 01:01 PM   #6
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    Re: Hello- Somewhat successfull ACDF (long)

    I suffered with reoccuring symtoms after my first ACDF in 96. Always check with your surgeon about these things. I bet I called my doctor more than a dozen times in the first two months. This surgery is very delicate and it has a tendancy to screw up everything for a while. Your nerves swell and there is existing damage from the discs laying on them before the surgery. It gets better believe me. It takes several months for your brain and your nerves and muscles to learn to communicate again. The nerves heal back in a ball instead of a straight line. You don't mess with your spinal cord and come out ready to take on the world. I am living proof that everything can turn out good. Unfortunately I had to go through it again. The disc they removed this time was bulging 8 years ago when they took out the first one so I wasn't suprised that it finally gave out. In the last eight years I have done everything I wanted to do such as hunt, fish, ride four wheelers and give birth to two beautiful girls. I don't sit on the sidelines in life. Spine surgery has knocked me back a little but I will be back at it later this year. Take your time with recovery, do what the doctor says. I bet that 3 or 4 months from now the symptoms will not be near as frequent. Keep a log of your pains on a weekly basis. Look back at what you write and hopefully you will see improvement.

     
    Old 02-16-2004, 07:11 PM   #7
    Bilbo
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    Re: Hello- Somewhat successfull ACDF (long)

    Thanks everyone for your kind words. We are in this together!

    2nd Timer- I am really stressed about talking to my Nuerosurgeon because he has been dismissive about post op pain and gremlins. In each instance where I have mentioned pain he dropped into almost rehearsed speech about how the surgery itself doesnt cause too much pain because of the way the neck opens up and since he "fixed" the neck issues causing my arm and shoulder pain, then, well, I shouldnt be feeling pain. He even went as far to tell me that a lot of my pain is in my head because I have been taking drugs. I have been on Vicodin since 9/03 taking 1 10mg every 4. Post op I had to bup that up to 2 10mg every 4. I recently dropped back to 1 every 4 hours but occassionally have to take 2. I also take 350 mg soma PRN.

    I am an educated professional who has no addictive traits and I really hate it when someone suggest that my pain isnt real.
    __________________
    2 Lumbar Lamies 93 (age 22); Cervical Fusion C4-C6 2004. Lumbar Fusion w/ hardware S1-L4 2007, DDD & stenosis entire spine. super low T. 30mg Methadone BID 10-20mg Norco 4 BT. 2mg Xanax PRN.

     
    Old 02-17-2004, 03:16 AM   #8
    leethomson
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    Re: Hello- Somewhat successfull ACDF (long)

    2nd timer

    I am more hopeful after reading about your experience that "things can get screwed up for a while.... .. get better in a few months". Like Bilbo I find talking to Neurosugeon a little difficult as he seem to just answer "give it time" to everything.

    Having my different and some worse symptoms after the op has been very off putting, just to hear that this may be the norm and that some time in the future it will improve is a good thing to here thanks.

    Bilbo
    I keep saying to myself that keeping positive is the best way to ensure the best recovery. However easier said than done constant nerve pain, but I guess you just have to convince yourself that it will come right in time. Best of luck.

    No direct responses to my post as yet, I will tag something onto it to see if there are any others who will relate their experience and offer a bit of advice.
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    ACDF C6-7 12/1/04

     
    Old 02-17-2004, 07:31 AM   #9
    Bilbo
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    Re: Hello- Somewhat successfull ACDF (long)

    Lee I put some thoughts in your post. Mostly babble but hey I tried. Didnt sleep a wink last nite. Collar really bugged me and too many issues wizzing thru. Oh well, its not like I can DRIVE anywhere today. And who would want to as we had nearly 6 inches of rain in the last 24 hours. Wind gusts to 50 mph. Bery bery strange weather for Nor Cal.....too much rain.
    __________________
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    Old 02-17-2004, 07:35 AM   #10
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    Re: Hello- Somewhat successfull ACDF (long)

    Bilbocameron and Leethomsom, you are both right. Neurosurgeons don't like to talk about pain and problems after sugery. They have done their job. Mine was exactly the same way. It is so frustrating!!! What I can tell you from my own experience is that the neurosurgeon has done his job. He has done the surgery and that was his job. He checks you now to make sure that you heal from the operation with no complications. He has a hundred other patients who need an operation and thank goodness that's what he focuses on!!! Great operations!!! Not much help for us who still get the weakness and numbness and pain from damaged nerves. Give it time. I bet that you guys are sleeping a little better at night now? And I bet the pain moves around a little. Remember before surgery? Same pain day after day, never fluctuating a bit. I never worry about pain now as long it is not in the same place for over a week. I found help with a doctor who specailizes in the non surgical treatment of muscles, nerves, and joints. I think they are called Physical medicine specialists? Physical Therapy didn't help before the sugery but it was a welcome treat after everything was healed and fused together. I think it was Nero who said somewhere on this board that massage was a great thing and he is right.

     
    Old 02-17-2004, 07:58 AM   #11
    Bilbo
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    Re: Hello- Somewhat successfull ACDF (long)

    You are right. Whereas the pain was constant and unbearable before the surgery it is now constantly changing. The arm and shoulder fatigue however is the same and indicative of a T1/C8 issue that was ignored by my NS. This fatigue was more concerning and bothersome than the pain. It grinds on the mind when you always feel like your arm is halfway asleep and the elbow feel like you hit your funny bone at all times.

    As for sleeping....well last nite I didnt...period. Not a wink. Too many things going on in my noggin and sometimes this Aspen collar...

    Thanks for the help and wise words. Today will be a good day....prolly cuz I am soooo tired I am delirious and soon will have the giggles
    __________________
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    Old 02-17-2004, 01:00 PM   #12
    CTmom
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    Re: Hello- Somewhat successfull ACDF (long)

    Just checking back in. Had first postop appointment (2 weeks) with my neuro today. I was really concerned about the increasing pain this past week in my shoulders and right arm (left arm was the only one bothering me before the surgery). I was worried that maybe something was wrong with the surgery or that another disc farther down had herniated. Anyway, I had been sort of dreading appointment because my neuro, although I have great faith in him as a surgeon, tends to be very dismissive about postop issues and pain. He sent me home from the hospital with no meds and told me I'd be back to full activities in a month. I was pleasantly surprised today to find that I wasn't meeting with the surgeon but with his nurse practitioner. I worked in a surgeon's office for years and quickly learned that although the surgeon was great, he was sorely lacking people skills and that patients were much better off meeting with P.A.s for their postoperative concerns. Anyway, the nurse was wonderful, taking the time to listen to my concerns, explain the postoperative process in detail and alleviate my fears. She also had me speak to another patient in the office at the same point postop as I am with exactly the same pains which was very reassurring. She also gave me a prescription for what she considers to be completely normal muscle spasms at this point. My grip strength is great now in both arms and my upper left arm is still weak but she gave me light exercises to begin at home. I go for an x-ray in four weeks and she will reevalute and recommend PT if necessary. And....I can drive now as my range of motion is excellent!!! I'm beginning to think maybe, with time, this finally might all work out.

    Hope your recovery is going smoothly as well and that your neuro appointment eases your concerns.

    CTMom
    C5-C6 ACDF 02/02/04

     
    Old 02-17-2004, 04:13 PM   #13
    Bilbo
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    Re: Hello- Somewhat successfull ACDF (long)

    Went to see my GP today. He was sorry to hear about my recent problems. I just started seeing him as my NS doesnt do any administrative duties (disability) nor will he do meds. The GP sat me up on the table and took my BP. 160/100 which we associated with pain. He took out the pokey tool to check sensory response in my arms. Everything was OK until he got to my Tricept and deltoids. I couldnt feel the poke at all and only knew he was doing it because I could see his arm moving. He told me "somethun isnt right" and said he would call the NS today to discuss. I see the NS Thrursday.

    He put me on Nuerontin 300mg to see if it would help with the nervey issues in arm. He also put me on BP medication as its been high the last 2 times I have been there. I asked him to put me on a anti-depressant as I have been slippin down in attitude and find that I am discouraged and not sleeping.

    Better living thru chemicals

    We'll see on Thursday what the NS says.
    __________________
    2 Lumbar Lamies 93 (age 22); Cervical Fusion C4-C6 2004. Lumbar Fusion w/ hardware S1-L4 2007, DDD & stenosis entire spine. super low T. 30mg Methadone BID 10-20mg Norco 4 BT. 2mg Xanax PRN.

     
    Old 02-21-2004, 05:52 AM   #14
    CTmom
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    Re: Hello- Somewhat successfull ACDF (long)

    Hi Bilbo,

    Just wondering how your ns visit went on Thursday. Hope he was willing to listen to your complaints and take them seriously. Let us know how you are doing.

    CTMom

     
    Old 02-21-2004, 06:10 AM   #15
    Kaos0100
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    Re: Hello- Somewhat successfull ACDF (long)

    Ok...I haven't had any surgery, but this is just my opinion. If you've had a nerve compression, or bone spurs, or anything that is pressing on something else, and you remove that compression, it stands to reason that things might take a while to get back to normal? Maybe some pain after surgery, like you all are experiencing, is normal? The body needs time to adjust to what has just happened to it...not to mention surgery itself is traumatic. Maybe things are just moving back to the way they should be after being assulted for so long? Just a thought.

    But I do have a question. Some of you say you have to wear the collar after surgery, so say you don't. Is it the NS's call? Or does it depends on where your surgery is, or how extensive, or what?

    Thanks

     
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